Er, Yb, and Hf isotopic compositions of refractory inclusions: An integrated isotopic fingerprint of the Solar System’s earliest reservoir

Quinn R. Shollenberger, Jan Render, Gregory A. Brennecka

Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume 495, 1 August 2018, Pages 12–23



• We present new methods to measure Er and Yb isotopes by MC-ICPMS and TIMS.
• CAIs have uniform Er, Yb, & Hf isotopics that are distinct from terrestrial rocks.
• Er, Yb, and Hf isotopic patterns in CAIs are characterized by r-process deficits.
• Diverse stellar sources caused isotopic differences between CAIs and bulk meteorites.”

“The oldest dated solids in our Solar System, calcium–aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs), contain isotopic anomalies in a whole suite of elements relative to later formed Solar System materials. Previous work has reported differences in the proportions of nucleosynthetic components between CAIs and terrestrial rocks as a function of mass. However, the nucleosynthetic fingerprint of the CAI-forming region is still lacking significant data in the heavier mass range (A > 154). Therefore, we present the first erbium (Er) and ytterbium (Yb) isotopic data along with hafnium (Hf) isotopic compositions in a wide variety of CAIs derived from a variety of CV and CK chondrites. This work presents new methods for Er and Yb isotopic investigation that were explored using both thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS) and multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICPMS). Relative to terrestrial rock standards, CAIs—regardless of host rock, petrologic or chemical classification—have uniform and resolvable Er, Yb, and Hf isotopic compositions. The CAI isotopic patterns correspond to r-process deficits (or s-process excesses) relative to terrestrial values of 9 ppm for Er, 18 ppm for Yb, and 17 ppm for Hf. This new Er, Yb, and Hf data help complete the nucleosynthetic fingerprint of the CAI-forming region, further highlighting the systematic difference between the CAIs and later formed bulk planetary bodies. Such a systematic difference between CAIs and terrestrial rocks cannot be caused by different amounts of any known single presolar phase but is likely the result of a well-mixed reservoir made of diverse stellar sources.”